Love life lacking? You’re not alone. As many as half of Americans over the age of 40 report some dissatisfaction with their sexuality. Hormonal fluctuations, poor circulation, and age-related changes in physiology can leave your libido less than frisky. But there’s hope: Natural supplements can shake a slumbering sex drive into wakefulness. Get ready for romance with these five natural love potions.
A powdered Peruvian root traditionally used to promote virility, appears to enhance desire without influencing hormones. In several studies, people who took maca reported heightened sexual desire, with no change in testosterone or estrogen levels. In other studies, people who took antidepressants—notorious for interfering with performance and libido—reported maca significantly increased desire. Other studies suggest maca may also increase sperm count and motility, and can improve erectile dysfunction (ED). Typical doses range from 3 to 10 grams per day. You’ll find it in powdered forms, which can be added to smoothies, and in capsules, tablets, and tinctures.
2. Tribulus terrestris
A thorny Mediterranean plant that’s also called puncture vine, may help boost libido in women with low sexual desire, possibly by increasing testosterone levels. In one study, women who took 750 mg per day of tribulus terrestris showed significant improvement in desire, arousal and orgasm, and had less pain during sex. Many studies show tribulus terrestris is effective in treating erectile dysfunction, most likely by increasing nitric oxide rather than testosterone. You’ll find it alone or with L-arginine or herbs, in capsules or tablets.
3. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)
A prohormone used by the body to make estrogen and androstenedione, the precursor to testosterone, can treat sexual problems caused by declining hormone levels. Studies have shown that DHEA can correct symptoms of vaginal atrophy, a common cause of diminished desire in post-menopausal women, and improve libido, responsivity, orgasm, and painful intercourse. It may also be useful for ED in men. DHEA is usually sold in capsule form; dosages range from 10 to 50 mg.
May benefit ED. In studies, the Chinese herb improved circulation by dilating blood vessels and making platelets less sticky. Other studies show ginkgo increases levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure, enhancing desire in both women and men. You’ll find ginkgo in tablets, capsules, or tinctures; look for those with higher levels of flavonoids and terpenoids, the active ingredients.
An amino acid, is converted by the body into nitric oxide, a compound that has been shown to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the penis. It’s often used with Pycnogenol, an antioxidant that has similar effects. In one study, treatment with a combination of L-arginine and Pycnogenol restored sexual ability in 92.5 percent of test subjects after three months of treatment. Combined with pycnogenol and L-citrulline, L-arginine has also been shown to improve sexual function in post-menopausal women.
L-arginine as well as other amino acids, including L-lysine and L-glutamine, may be found together in supplements formulated to help boost human growth hormone (HGH), higher levels of which are linked to heightened sex drive. Some studies suggest improving HGH production may also benefit ED. The body’s natural production of HGH, produced in the pituitary gland, declines with age; low levels are associated with all manner of age-related maladies, including loss of muscle mass, wrinkling skin, and cognitive decline, in addition to flagging sex drive and performance. Look for L-arginine alone or in combination with supportive ingredients in capsules and tablets.
Most women and men have used a personal lubricant at some point to make their sex lives, well, smoother. But drugstore personal lubricants contain harsh chemicals that can damage delicate vaginal tissues, lead to bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections, and increase the risk of herpes, chlamydia, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Nothing pleasurable about that. Most also contain parabens and other preservatives that have been linked with increased cancer risk. Skip the drugstore lubricants and choose natural options; we like Dreambrands The Natural, with marine algae, aloe vera, and natural plant extracts.
Sanmedica International SeroVital-hgh
Quality of Life Satisfide
Key ingredient: Tribulus terrestris
Irwin Naturals Steel Libido for Men and Women
Key ingredients: maca, ginkgo